Goodbye Lou Reed

I know that after someone prominent dies, it’s time for the annoying trend of where every blog writes a “tribute” to them and mentioning how essential they were to everything. It’s odd writing an obituary to someone you didn’t personally know, so I’d rather not do that this time. We all know how essential Lou Reed was so instead of writing something boring like that, I’d rather write about my only real Lou Reed story: the time I saw him play Lollapalooza.

It’s 2009. I’m 19 and I’ve been cut loose with some friends in Grant Park for three days of heavy drinking and music. That year didn’t have a spectacular line up, but there were highlights. Unfortunately, I skipped out on Depeche Mode, and only caught a couple minutes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs because of reasons I can’t quite remember. When the last day rolls around, I’m determined not to fuck up and miss Lou Reed. I’m hungover, but I manage to get to the stage in time for Lou to go on. I didn’t feel like fighting the crowd so I hung out towards the back.

The band plays their set and it’s better than I expect. When most bands age, the quality suffers. It’s cliche to say, but it’s the truth, isn’t it? Like any rule, there’s exceptions to it and the one’s I’ve seen so far are Nick Cave and Lou Reed. Lou sounded great and played a classic set that despite being only 8 songs long, ran way over his set time. I wasn’t about to complain though cause, well, it’s Lou Reed. That and he played a 10 minute version of “I’m Waiting for the Man” that segued perfectly into “Walk on the Wild Side.” Without getting too cheesy, hearing the whole crowd sing the “doo-doo-doo” part back to the band was some kind of beautiful. I thought he had to be one of the coolest old fucks around.

As I’m walking away from the show, I have to pass by the stage where Band of Horses is playing. The band plays a song, but in the middle, they constantly whine about how Lou Reed ate into their set time. Their fans even start to chant “fuck Lou Reed” over and over and over again. It’s times like these where you think if there really was a God, he probably would have made the stage collapse on their heathen heads. Alas, it did not.

However, it made me realize something: at 67, Lou Reed had managed to put on a killer set AND piss off legions of dorky Band of Horses fans. He really was the coolest old fuck around!

But that’s all I’ve got. Rest easy, Lou. Gonna miss ya.

This Magic Moment – Lou Reed

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